I have experienced intense feelings of depression and anxiety for years. The two have stared me in the face and relentlessly bared their teeth, backing me into corners and leaving me breathless, hopeless, and lonely.
Depression appears as this debilitated, defeated, negative antagonist. It makes people feel dead inside and can even make them externally sick, rendering them “useless” either way. Experiencing depression is like walking around with a ball and chain strapped to your ankle and becoming accustomed to its weight after some time. It keeps one from going places. The extra weight becomes normal, so a person begins functioning from this new level of reality.
Anxiety appears as this unsettled, restless, antsy pest. Experiencing anxiety is like having a planner with nothing scheduled in it but still feeling as though you’re running late for something. It’s also like having an itch, literally or figuratively, that you cannot scratch no matter how hard you try. Emotions roller-coaster as you try to nail them down and organize them, but nothing is short of intense and edgy.
Depression and anxiety, especially bundled together, can make living seem like a chore. They can make it hard to love yourself, hard to connect with the world and love others, and hard to enjoy anything in your path. At times, it may feel easier to shut the lights off, close the curtain, and curl up in bed because you think you have nothing to show for yourself, nothing to share with others. And you wouldn’t be the first to deal with this, nor was/am I.
It wasn’t until recently that these two giants shape-shifted, and as I’ve analyzed them, I’ve grown bolder in identifying their true nature. They are simply wearing masks as they greet me at the closing and opening of my eyes from day to day. And they will actually make strong allies as I continue to jar them into my corner.
A revelation occurred to me which revealed that depression is really passion that has not been stirred; therefore, depression is also dormant purpose. Your passions and purpose are not any deader than you are, but they have fallen silent and/or gone into hiding all together. *Sadly, many succumb to death as a result of depression, and it’s often because their lights had been burning too low for too long.
My next revelation revealed that anxiety is really passion that is pent up or misdirected; therefore, anxiety is also unfulfilled purpose. Your passions and purpose are awake, but they do not possess enough fuel or healthy guidance to thrive. They’re struggling to break forth and reach their fullest levels of potential, but you feel unsure, unstable, and overwhelmed.
With these epiphanies, I have decided that I cannot let depression and anxiety win and decide my life for me, and as you read the following thoughts, I hope you find even a mustard seed of strength and faith to decide the same.
Instead of welcoming depression with negative comments, my head hung low, and my chest sunken in, I will combat it even in the teeniest tiniest of ways. Whether it’s reading one chapter of a book, typing out one or two thoughts, watching a movie/show/video clip that makes me laugh, petting my animals and playing fetch with them, letting the breeze blow through my hair for a moment, playing a relaxing/fun game, sketching or painting a picture, etc., I will do something every day that brings me joy and peace. I will show depression that my passions are not going back to sleep and that my purpose is not going back into its shell.
Instead of allowing my anxiety to make me panic, worry, and feel disheveled, I will combat it even in the teeniest tiniest of ways. Whether it’s finding communities of like-minded people, writing out a to-do list or specific goals/plans with steps, tackling one concern/need/want a day, reaching out to ask a trusted person for advice, gathering tools that could be essential to my current and next steps of whatever I’m pursuing, reading one article about a similar journey etc., I will show anxiety that my passions are not unruly and unmanageable and that my purpose is not unfeasible for me.
Becoming all that I’m meant to be and seeing my passions come to life is not an easy road, and neither will that path be for you. But I have determined that I am outgrowing depression and anxiety because who I am and what I have been called to do are far greater than what they are and what they ever will be.
*If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, and/or suicidal thoughts, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Someone is always willing to talk with you.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Featured Image by Maxx Miller